The TVR Cerbera was manufactured by TVR between 1996 and 2003 and the 4.5 litre V8 Cerbera was in effect the flagship sports car for the TVR range during this period. Named after the mythical Greek monster with 3 heads that guarded Hades, the Cerberus, the Cerbera was the most powerful TVR produced under Peter Wheeler’s reign at Blackpool.
First shown to the public in 1994 at the Birmingham Motor Show the TVR Cerbera was an instant success with the crowds and represented a change of direction for TVR. It was the first 2+2 fixed head from the TVR stable and was also the first TVR to be powered by in house TVR designed and created engines.
Prior to the TVR Cerbera all TVRs had be powered by mass produced engines from a variety of sources, Rover and Ford being prime examples, but TVR under Peter Wheeler had embarked on the ambitious program of developing not 1 but 2 engine variants. Developed in house by Al Melling, John Ravenscroft and Peter himself the V8 was designated the AJP V8 from the initials of their first names. Based on race engine design the V8 was believed to carry across many aspects of F1 design to the bottom end.
Following the design of the TVR AJP V8 engine the engineers focused their attention on the TVR Speed Six engine which was to be a straight 6 cylinder, twin camshaft, 24 valve, dry sump performance engine to power the coming range of TVRs.
This TVR Speed 6 engine was first fitted to the TVR Cerbera Speed 6 in 1998-1999. Early versions of this engine in the TVR Cerbera were somewhat different to later versions in a number of respects. The first batch of these engines for instance was design/manufactured without a crankshaft damper of any sort and these engines rapidly became a problem as they suffered timing chain failures. These early Cerberas were quickly recalled and major modifications were required to retro fit crankshaft dampers as there were complications with the proximity of the chassis.
The TVR Cerbera Speed 6 remained the development platform for the Speed 6 engine as for a period of time the Cerbera was the only car powered by this engine until the Tuscan was launched. Unfortunately this led to a reputation of unreliability which blighted both the engine and the TVR Cerbera Speed Six for some years.
The TVR Cerbera Speed Six was available until about 2004 by which time many of the initial teething problems had been resolved.
The TVR Speed 6 engine continued on powering all of the TVR range of cars until production ceased in late 2006 by which time some 4500 engines had been put into TVRs for the enjoyment of the high performance orientated driver.
The TVR Cerbera is one of the fastest sportscars of all time but has a long-legged Intercontinental touring ability that puts it into a class of its own. TVR has long been a byword for towering performance but the Cerbera took this into a different league. At the same time, it was also TVR's first fixed head coupe for over a decade and gives TVR owners with children an extra option as it is also a 2+2. It was available in four different variants each with a quite different character. The refined Cerbera Speed Six is quieter and rides more gently than the others which get progressively more sporting in nature until you get to the immensely powerful 4.5 with Red Rose conversion.
There are few cars as dramatic as the TVR Cerbera. From its optional gas discharge headlights to its twin stainless steel exhaust pipes, the Cerbera is one of those cars that looks like its going fast when it's standing still. Although it could not be mistaken for anything other than a very modern TVR, its bloodline is very much in the tradition of the British sportscars. From 2002 its lines were even smoother with the headlight housings now being blended into the wings.
The interior of the Cerbera is absolutely unique. The original concept of the Cerbera was to provide TVR owners with the option of a two plus two. The extra length in the wheelbase makes it possible to carry two children in the back or smaller adults over short distances. The leather-trimmed seats reflect the cars dual purpose in that they are supremely comfortable over long distances while providing lateral support when cornering hard. The boot is commodious and can carry an astonishing amount of luggage for a touring holiday or a set of golf clubs. All the instruments are clustered around the steering wheel, perfectly in the driver's line of sight and even the ventilation system has been thoughtfully designed and is able to supply cold air to the driver's face to keep them alert while keeping the rest of the cabin warm.
Towards the end of TVR’s existence in 2006 an online auction was held for the last TVR Cerbera built especially for this occasion. This last car was a 4.5 V8 lightweight right-hand drive car in Pepper White with Prussian blue leather interior trim.